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Difficult To Pill


Guest k9soul
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This actually is about my mixed breed girl and not Rudy but I hope it's okay if I ask here. My elderly girl Tasha needs to be on medication that doesn't come in a chewable form. She's the most difficult dog I've ever had when it comes to pilling. She chews anything into tiny bits and so hiding it in something just won't work. She is finicky about anything weird tasting so in the past crushing and putting in yogurt etc.hasn't really worked either.

 

She clamps her jaw like a vice and I have to struggle to get her mouth open with one hand and get the pill in with the other. Then while I hold her mouth shut she will shake her head and even swallow and gulp, but when I let go half the time the pill gets spit right out. Sometimes she seems to swallow it and later I will find the thing somewhere else in the house. Apparently she'd rather cheek and taste the thing for awhile than swallow it. It's beyond frustrating!

 

Anyone have any tips or tricks for a difficult piller? I only wish she were as easy as Rudy. With him I can wrap it in a piece of lunch meat and down the hatch it goes.

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Have you checked with a compounding pharmacy? Sometimes they can make up flavored liquid versions of medications that would appeal to a dog. When we've had to give the gross deworming drug, I mixed that w/canned dog food and there was no spitting it out.


Also, have you tried holding her mouth closed and firmly stroking her cheeks and throat--sometimes if you do it for long enough that will get them to swallow.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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I hadn't thought of a compounding pharmacy. Definitely something I should to look into as she needs to be on this medication probably long-term. I do hold her mouth closed and stroke her throat but perhaps I need to do it longer.

 

I think I read elsewhere there is a pill administrator you can get that may help it get further down the throat.

 

At her dinner today I got out a hot dog and instead of cutting a chunk I cut about 1/3 of the hot dog off and poked a hole way down and completely buried the pill all the way into the center. Then I gave it to her. Well either I was lucky or maybe that's they key because she ate it down along with the pill. I just have to hope she doesn't bite into the pill because if she does that and tastes it she will spit out the whole thing and then not touch it.

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I use hot dogs. Sammie inhales them, sometimes without chewing. But it works well for him. I couldn't get away with this for my picky border collie.

 

When I used to give meds to my Carolina dog, she would also clamp her jaw down, I would gently push on the side of her jaw, near the hinge, and get the pill in and place it as far back as I could. Not fun, but it worked.

Edited by fliggie
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Guest IrskasMom

My Morty just loooves Liverwurst ( Braunschweiger ) I make Ball out of it and put the Pill inside . Don't make it big , just to cover the Pill and she can eat it in one Bite.

Wantedf to add , I give him afterwards always a little more to reward him .

Edited by IrskasMom
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Braunsweiger (I think). It's basically liver pate. Vienna sausages work too - hot dogs, smelly cheese, cream cheese, peanut butter, canned dog food, lunch meat, hamburger/meatballs. Whatever works for you.

 

If you put pills in something yummy, the key is to not just give them the thing with the pill in it. You need to make sure it's something *really* yummy, smelly - something she will eat without chewing. Then, feed her several small pieces BEFORE you give her the one with the pill, then IMMEDIATELY - before she's even swallowed that one - offer her another small bite right under her nose. You want to get the swallowing going before you give her the one with the pill, and then not give her a chance to think about there being a pill in one bite. Make all the bites about the same size.

 

If you do have to pill her, I still sometimes will put the pill in a pill pocket or cheese. It makes it easier to poke with a finger, and the bulk helps them swallow better. Grasp her upper jaw with your off hand (left hand for me), and pry open her mouth. Keep the fingers of your off hand on the roof on her mouth to help keep it open. (Or you can also use the bottom jaw and keep your thumb on her tongue, but this tends to get in the way of pill poking.) Poke the pill down beyond the bend of her throat, but not too far or it will cause her to cough it back up. Hold her mouth gently closed, stroke her throat, and gently but firmly BLOW UP HER NOSE. This will trigger the swallowing reflex as the dog inhales.

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Sounds a bit like our greyhound Lana! She also chews everything to make sure she's not getting a pill. She'll also swallow a pill and then regurgitate it when we're not looking. We ended up doing two things: (1) dipping her pills in vegetable oil so they go down easier and (2) instead of trying to trick her, we tell her that she has to take her pill but afterwards she'll get a piece of chicken (it's actually baked skinless chicken breast). She likes the chicken as a reward and it seems to keep her from regurgitating the pill. She's gotten to the point where we don't even have to pry her mouth open to take the pill. We hold the pill in front of her mouth and tell her she has to take it. She'll resist at first, turning her head from side to side, but eventually she'll open her mouth enough for us to get the pill to the back of her throat. I'll admit, though, it sometimes takes some pleading on our part, as in, "Please, Lana?" I think she likes seeing us squirm. :)

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I am so frustrated after trying to get her pill in her tonight. I haven't been to the store yet to try the liverwurst, but tonight I tried everything from peanut butter to hot dog chunks to even some raw chicken with the pill tucked in. Started off just giving her treats, but she chews everything completely and thoroughly. She will not swallow ANYTHING without chewing and once she tastes the pill, that's it, hot dog, chicken, whatever it is is spit out.

 

So I had to resort to force. I can not get her jaws open enough to get anything far back in her throat. I can get a finger crammed in her mouth but she chomps down with her teeth and it hurts, I actually get teeth indentation marks in my fingers. It's not biting, it's like she's frantic to keep me from getting "the bad thing" down her throat. I did get a piece of cooked a greasy hot dog in her mouth with the pill in it and held her mouth shut with her head up, stroking her cheeks and throat and even blowing in her nose. WOULD NOT SWALLOW. She had drool leaking out the sides of her mouth wetting her chin and neck, still just would not swallow. Finally she seemed to swallow a couple times, I let up the pressure slightly and BAM out popped the hotdog with the pill.

 

As stupid as it may sound I'm about in tears. She's been having decline and loss of function and pain and this tramadol may give her some relief. I've been terrified with how things have been going the past couple days that I may lose her soon if I can't get her more comfortable.

 

Edit: Victor I was typing as you posted. I will try the veggie oil.. I just feel SO discouraged right now. She needs to be on these 3 times per day.

Edited by k9soul
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Sutra was EXACTLY like what you describe. I felt like I was wrestling an alligator. I tried meats, cheeses, pill pockets, fruit roll-ups...you name it.

 

Here is what worked for us: whipped cream in a can. I'd hold the pill at the tips of my thumb and forefinger, and just spray a little bit over the pill. He'd take it and immediately I'd spray some more on my finger for him to snag. He was so excited to get MORE he would gulp the bit with the pill in it.

 

I started by introducing the whipped cream as a treat for everyone.

 

We got to a point where he would come running for his meds as soon as I opened the fridge and touched the can :)

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Guest PiagetsMom

 

 

If you put pills in something yummy, the key is to not just give them the thing with the pill in it. You need to make sure it's something *really* yummy, smelly - something she will eat without chewing. Then, feed her several small pieces BEFORE you give her the one with the pill, then IMMEDIATELY - before she's even swallowed that one - offer her another small bite right under her nose. You want to get the swallowing going before you give her the one with the pill, and then not give her a chance to think about there being a pill in one bite. Make all the bites about the same size.

 

 

 

Yes, to this.

 

Liverworst has worked for us, but someone here also suggested cream cheese, which is my usual go to - it's soft and easy to shape around whatever you need to put in it. And, I've also found that it's easier if I give meds with both of mine getting the "treat". Mirage will eat anything,so I give it to him first (just a blob of cream cheese), and Maya is eager to follow and get her "treat" with her pill, too. In fact, I usually do a small blob of cream cheese after every meal, so that when I do need to give pills, it's just a normal "treat" for them.

 

I completely understand how upset you are right now....it's very frustrating when you have a pup who's really hard to give medication to :grouphug

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I have one who isn't easy to pill and he has to have thyroid meds twice a day. I found velveeta to be a good "pill pocket". It is like glue so the pill doesn't come out, and is pretty slimy when in his mouth so it slides down easily. I use a small 1 inch piece across and maybe 1/2 inch deep since his pills are small. I always give the other two a tiny piece of the cheese at the same time so it seems like treat time to everyone.

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Thanks so much everyone for the ideas. I finally had some success this morning after a quite a battle. I've come to conclude force just isn't going to work, period. I tried to coat a pill in peanut oil and then I managed to get her jaw pried open (I think only because she wasn't expecting it) but her tongue was like a bucking bronco and I know I didn't get the pill far enough back. Held her mouth shut for awhile while massaging her throat and she did seem to be swallowing but as soon as I let go she shook her head and out came the pill. I tried a second time and this time she was "lock-jawed" and I could barely get it open at all.

 

After that she ran outside to hide from me and had foamy spittle on her face.. I felt so frustrated and sad. So I went back to thinking of peaceful methods again and thinking about the post of giving her several pieces first. I got out a hot dog and cut it into small chunks, then I cut the pill in half and hid each half in a chunk.

 

I went to find her and gave her a regular chunk, she very carefully chewed it and swallowed. I gave her a second chunk and she seemed more eager for it. After 3-4 chunks she was getting eager and grabby so I gave her one with half a pill in it. Success! She didn't chew it too much and took it. I then gave her 2 more normal chunks and then the chunk with the other pill half. Went down just fine. Then gave her a final normal chunk.

 

So I think if I can just get her to a point she's not anticipating a pill, and so isn't so cautious about the treats, maybe this can get easier. It seems like cutting the pill into smaller pieces helped hide it better too...

 

I'm so hoping this will be the answer. Last night she seemed more comfortable and relaxed than she has in a week. I think the med is helping her. :goodluck

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Three things to try:

 

1. When you go to open the dog's mouth, wrap their upper lips around their teeth. Then stuff the pill WAY DOWN the throat -- don't be shy about that. Fast, furious, and deep wins this race.

 

2. If you're giving the pill wrapped IN something, have something tasty in/on another part of your hand (or your other hand, or a spoon). As soon as the dog takes the item with the pill, offer your 2nd tasty thing. For example, dip your little finger in the peanutbutter jar. Now offer your hot dog chunk with pill inside and as soon as dog takes it, shove your peanutbuttered little finger under her nose to be licked. Can't lick and spit things out at the same time. Ha! You win!

 

3. If you're hiding the pill in one of a series of treats, try making the dog DO something for those treats -- sit, shake hands, catch treats in midair, whatever dog knows how to do. Go as fast as dog will repeat the commands. Usually by treat #3, dog is gulping and looking for the next one. Sneaky person wins again :) .

 

 

 

ETA: Saw your last post. Good job! Yes, quick quick quick and something to take her mind off whether there's a pill in there.

Edited by Batmom

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We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I always give the other two a tiny piece of the cheese at the same time so it seems like treat time to everyone.

 

This is a good idea too actually, if I give the other dogs treats at the same time she will be even more eager/competitive to get hers.

 

Batmom, normally I'd do the trick thing but in Tasha's case she is approaching 15 years old, is hard of hearing and is having pain and weakness which is why we've had to start the narcotic. But great idea for more able pups I agree.

 

Thanks so much again for all the tips and advice. This has been so stressful because I'm really frightened that if I can't get her more happy and comfortable I may have to make decisions I am not wanting to make.

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Liverworst has worked for us, but someone here also suggested cream cheese, which is my usual go to - it's soft and easy to shape around whatever you need to put in it.

This is Seamie's current favorite for pill-taking. It is stinky and gross but he loves it. I offer a tiny piece of it first, without any meds, and the pieces that follow contain his pills, ending with a tiny piece without meds.

 

When he gets picky about his meals, a bit of liverwurst and water gravy usually gets him interested.

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Bullitt became a pro and finding pills in anything I put them in, including Peeps! I finally found a pill gun that enables me to put all 5 of his pills in it at once and get them in him in one try. No more fighting. I was so pleased I was telling my vet about it and she wanted the link. I actually bought extra and took it in to the office and they are thrilled with it because you can even put big pills in it. I got it from Amazon.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ezy-Dose-Pet-Pill-Gun/dp/B0009YYNU0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1380473539&sr=8-2&keywords=Pill+Guns

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Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Bullitt became a pro and finding pills in anything I put them in, including Peeps! I finally found a pill gun that enables me to put all 5 of his pills in it at once and get them in him in one try. No more fighting. I was so pleased I was telling my vet about it and she wanted the link. I actually bought extra and took it in to the office and they are thrilled with it because you can even put big pills in it. I got it from Amazon.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ezy-Dose-Pet-Pill-Gun/dp/B0009YYNU0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1380473539&sr=8-2&keywords=Pill+Guns

 

Oh this looks helpful. Thanks for the link I think I will order one to have on standby in case my current trick stops working. She is too clever for her own good and is determined if it tastes awful then it will probably kill her to ingest it.

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Keep something tasty on hand to give her right after you use it. It helps the pills go down and trains them to come take their meds at the same time. Bullitt comes running to take his pills now because he knows he gets a treat after. :)

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Pilling any animal that doesn't want to cooperate is soooo frustrating. You just wish they could understand that pill = feeling better!

 

I don't have any better advice on pilling that what's already been said, but I will mention that tramadol is insanely bitter/awful tasting. I've never taken it myself, but once I touched a pill and then touched a piece of food that I ate - just the bit of residue on my fingers made the food I touched taste horrible! That taste stayed in my mouth for at least half an hour, so my advice would be to make sure that you aren't inadvertently "contaminating" the surface of the food it is disguised in.

 

I no longer touch the pills directly (or if I do, I make sure to thoroughly wash and dry my hands before I touch the food I'm burying it in).

Wendy with Twiggy, fosterless while Twiggy's fighting the good fight, and Donnie & Aiden the kitties

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This may take time, but try training her to open her mouth on command. I use a clicker. Whenever she opens her mouth for any reason, click and give a treat. Eventually add in a command, such as "open". Then you should be able to pill her easier.

The other way is to force her mouth open like you're going to pill her, then pop something yummy on her tongue without pulling her. She'll learn that good things happen when you open her mouth. Make sure that after you pill her that you give her something really yummy.

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The Tramadol tablets taste awful so, once they are tasted its game over. They will froth and salivate....... Have the medication compounded and make both of your lives easier. Wedgewood pharmacy ;-). Btw chicken and marshmallow flavor seems to be a big hit with a lot of dogs.

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Ah, Tramadol, that stuff is supposed to be truly disgusting--if Patrick got the slightest taste of it he would foam at the mouth and it was all over. What I used to do was use leftover gel caps from cosequine, put the Tramadol in it so the dog can't taste it at all, then put the gel cap in a treat. If you don't use cosequine, you can usually buy gel caps from a compounding pharmacy or maybe someone on here can save you their gel caps.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Thanks so much for the suggestions. I've come to realize the tramadol must be truly awful tasting. This morning I tried to sneak some in hotdogs and put in her breakfast, with some normal hotdog pieces too. She ate a few normal pieces but when she got to the one with the pill she apparently tasted it. Walked around shaking her head like she had been stung, and was so upset she refused any more of her breakfast. So I won't try that method again.

 

I got some liverwurst and chain fed her bits and snuck in a piece with the pill inside and had success with that. But I know if she suspects a pill she will be extra cautious. The liverwurst was something new and extra smelly so it worked.. for now. I was actually wondering about a way to coat the tablets with something to mask the taste, like the gel caps.

 

As for training that is difficult as she cannot hear a clicker anymore and cannot hear my voice unless I yell pretty loudly.

 

The good news is she is definitely acting more relaxed and comfortable on the tramadol. It's just getting it into her that is such a challenge.


The Tramadol tablets taste awful so, once they are tasted its game over. They will froth and salivate....... Have the medication compounded and make both of your lives easier. Wedgewood pharmacy ;-). Btw chicken and marshmallow flavor seems to be a big hit with a lot of dogs.

 

I'm looking at Wedgewood pharmacy site right now. One thing I wondered about is that Tramadol is considered a controlled substance in Illinois and some pharmacy sites say they cannot fulfill prescriptions for it to Illinois. I wonder if it would be different for a compounding pharmacy? This is something I may look into if I am unable to find a more persistently successful method.

 

Edit: Also I just ordered some empty gelcaps, they are actually pretty inexpensive and definitely worth a try.

Edited by k9soul
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